In recent months I have seen 3 films that have left the audience in total silence as the final credits roll. Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and last night Lynnne Ramsay’s We Need to talk About Kevin. This latter is a relentless attack on the emotions, with no relief whatsoever.
Edited in a mosaic of scenes placed out of conventional chronology and laced with the addition of ambient images throughout. From its opening scene, which features a gently billowing curtain floating in white light, it builds to reveal a harrowing portrait of a woman, not only victimised by all around her, but with an entrenched guilt of her on part in the tragedy that unfolds during the film's fragmented structure. This leads to an esculating series of extremely unpalatable events that disturbs the senses long after the film has ended.
My difficulty with Ramsey’s is her over-manipulation of the audience. This was achieved through the casting (no one looks normal). The architecture (akin the Nightmare on Elm Street). The interiors (very Lynchian in their soullessness. The colour palette (cold with Hichcockian flashes of symbolic red throughout). The music (50s and 60 pop intertwined with electronic tension) plus the many randomly framed images that become super charged with menace. It was a relentless journey that became more horrific with every step.
It left me wondering why I had paid money to put myself through such an ordeal. It was without doubt one of the most unpleasant films I have ever seen. And despite my admiration for Ramsay’s ability I would not recommend it to anyone.
The world we live in at the moment is filled with horrors flashed to our TV screens everyday. This film is an unnecessary addition.